Getting an Ecommerce Merchant Account!

E-business owners, who strongly wish to operate in the online world, need to adopt the only possible medium of payment today, which are credit cards. Though, the idea of credit card acceptance is not new, you might still be confused about making your payment system highly efficient and reliable.

If your business is still limited within the bounds of the conventional money orders as the most preferred payment mode, then you might just be losing out on some major business opportunities. Today, most of the customers prefer to make payments through credit cards, and therefore if your business isn’t capable of accepting credit card payments, then you are missing out majorly on these profit making opportunities.

If you wish to turn more efficient and expand your business applications, then simply get an ecommerce merchant account today. An ecommerce merchant account empowers you with the ability to easily process the payments made by the credit/debit cards. By opening up an account, you are subscribed to all the services offered by the e-providers or the merchant banks.

There are a large number of ecommerce merchant account service providers you can choose from including ClickBank, PayPal, etc. Each service provider has its own distinctive terms and conditions of services. Some are more extensive and offer international merchant account services, while on the other hand, some are limited within the bounds of the domestic services. However, most of them refuse to provide their services to those traders who have bad or highly risky credit history.

Some of the ecommerce merchant service providers charge nominal service fees while others offer it for free. The main difference in the subscription cost is defined by the level of security offered by the service provider. The service providers which offer better security standards, software tools, and applications might charge a little more. However, it would be wrong to relate the cost only with the security level of a provider’s services.

Hence, before opting for a suitable service provider, all features must be analyzed and options must be evaluated. Sticking to the old and obsolete payment methods will not only cost a lot to your business, but also may result in unwanted setbacks and inconvenience. Putting your business in the online world requires skipping of traditional payment methodologies.

By getting an ecommerce merchant account, you impart a secure and reliable payment system to your business with no processing limitations. Getting a merchant account is easy and fast. Just make sure you possess a sound credit history and your merchant account will get sanctioned easily.

eCommerce Sites – Simple?

eCommerce Sites are seemingly ubiquitous and are very easy to use by end users. What you may not realize are some of the details an eCommerce web site needs to address and some of the hurdles it must overcome to before it accepts its first order.

A successful eCommerce web site has a number of characteristics:

  • Maintain a product catalog
  • Categorize products
  • Order Management
  • Order history
  • Predictive product marketing
  • Inventory management
  • Campaign management
  • Promotions management
  • Product management
  • Pricing, sales tax management
  • Payment processor compatibility
  • Link management

A site’s product catalog is a view into the products a site sells. Products are usually arranged based on category, or type to make them easier to find. Some products can appear in more than one category, and categories can change over time. How would you want your eCommerce site to behave when you delete a category that still has products in it? Should you site delete the products too, or leave the products alone possibly making them impossible to find?

Order management is the process that takes place not only when a shopper pays for the things they want, order management also occurs when your site restocks its inventory. Your eCommerce site should be able to manage orders, back-orders, preorders, and a range of other types of orders.

Your clients’ order history is important because it provides information that supports you when you create future promotions, create advertising campaigns, and can help when ordering new products to sell. Order history is also important for incomplete orders – these are orders that users start yet never complete. An order is considered to be abandoned when a user goes to pay yet stops short of actually paying. Gaining an understanding of why users are abandoning their orders is crucial – it could end up being a simple solution that dramatically reduces order abandonment.

Predictive product marketing occurs when the eCommerce site displays products to the user that may be of interest to the user based on their previously browsed or ordered products. Analysis is usually performed as the user browses and relevant related products can dramatically increase sales.

Campaign and promotions management use order history and profile information. A campaign could be a special advertising campaign, or some special offering that’s targeted to specific users or groups of users. A promotion is less targeted than a campaign so it’s reach is broader. In both cases, your users’ profiles and order histories help you create the campaign and also target users when they browse through the product catalog.

Pricing and sales tax management can be tricky. Pricing can change based on date, product availability, and a range of other factors. The eCommerce system needs to ensure that prices are correct and that they change based on your needs. Sales tax calculations can get very involved – especially in countries or regions where sales taxes change based on the buyer’s location, the location where a product is consumed (attendance at a conference or class for example), or your organization’s location. Some regions also offer sales tax exemption in many cases, so your order pipeline needs to be able to accommodate calculations like this.

There are various payment processors for credit cards and other forms of payment. While many payment processors are standardized now, many regions don’t support the larger ones or have regulations that make using some payment processors impractical.

Link Management is an important yet overlooked aspect. Users can bookmark product pages, or send links to their friends. The eCommerce site must support all links over time, even in cases where products no longer exist.

In addition to all of these characteristics, better eCommerce sites support the following non-functional characteristics:

  • Accessibility
  • Audit and control
  • High Availability
  • Performance
  • Quick recovery from different types of failures
  • Compliance with local and international regulations
  • Privacy management
  • Stable
  • Secure
  • Testable

From the end-user’s point of view, eCommerce sites just work. This article has demonstrated some of the design that makes an eCommerce site successful.

eCommerce With Integrated Blog (e-Blogging)

I Am Still Not Convinced With Using WordPress eCommerce Plugins

I wrote a post comparing Using A Blog Vs. Using An eCommerce Website, which discusses the differences between a blog and an eCommerce system. Then over the last few weeks I’ve been writing reviews looking at the different eCommerce plugins available for WordPress. If you want to see the various reviews, read the articles section under eBlog Reviews. What I am exploring today are the different options available to integrate a blog into an existing eCommerce system. If you have read all of my reviews about the different eCommerce plugins for WordPress, you will see that I am still not completely convinced. WordPress for blogging is a fantastic system and is more than capable of handling large volumes of data. Though, once you add on an eCommerce plugin it does not have the same functionality in comparison to an eCommerce system, which are more robust to handle large consumer transactions. Now, the big challenge is, most eCommerce systems do not have a blog interface built-in, which raises the question of how to integrate an eCommerce system with a blog?

Why Have An eCommerce System Integrated With A WordPress Blog?

Over the years, web users have found blogs to be more compelling to look at than just shopping sites. Most blogs have written reviews and information relating to a product or service, allowing any web user to do their research before making a purchase. Imagine that you were looking to buy the latest iPhone and you wanted to look at some reviews and read other people’s opinions before spending your money. If you typed “iPhone review” in Google, the first site that appears is usually a review site such as Cnet or Smart Company, which all run a blogging application such as WordPress. These review sites usually only provide a review and opinions, but don’t have a link saying where to buy. This is where having an eCommerce system integrated with a WordPress blog can benefit your Internet business. Instead of the customer going to other websites to read reviews and opinions about the product (by that time they may have forgotten your website), you can have your own reviews and comments linked to your products. This encourages the customer to stay on your website and helps them save time looking for other places for reviews and opinions.

Additionally, the benefit of having a WordPress blog integrated with your eCommerce system, is that it helps to increase your search engine rankings. With higher search engines rankings, your Internet business will be found much quicker and also help with becoming an authoritative site.

How To Integrate An eCommerce System With A WordPress Blog?

Luckily for us, most eCommerce systems have a special add-on package which has been developed by experienced programmers. At this point, I would recommend you hire a web developer to install or modify an eCommerce system because it will can save time for you to focus on other important business tasks. Though I will explain to you how it generally works with some systems I have test:

Magento: This is a relatively new eCommerce system that is taking the eCommerce Open Source market by storm. It’s very user friendly and is very powerful, just like how WordPress has been very successful for many Internet businesses. Magento has an add-on extension called Lazzymonks WordPress Integration 2.61, which allows WordPress to be integrated with their system. You can easily access WordPress from Magento’s administration as well and would save you the hassle of logging out of Magento and logging into WordPress.

OsCommerce: This system has been around since March 2000, which shows a long history of eCommerce development for them. OsCommerce also has an add-on which is quite easy to install – the WordPress Integration. Unfortunately this add-on does require you to log onto WordPress separately. Once you have installed WordPress with OsCommerce you will be able to still post your articles as normal and all the posts will be integrated into the OsCommerce theme you choose.

ZenCart: This is the system I have been using for many years for many of my clients and own eCommerce shops. It is easy to set up the WordPress On Zencart add-on with a few installation files to upload. Though, I found it wasn’t matching the style of the shopfront at first with this basic add-on. I did hired a programmer to modify some files which generated a good result in the end.

With many Internet businesses seeing the growth of web users searching on blogs and search engines today, it would be unfortunate to see you lose sales because you did not have a blog integrated with your eCommerce shop. There are great benefits with having both these systems integrated into your Internet business and someday eCommerce with integrated blogs will be the new community called e-Blogging.